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Earth to the Unknown Power

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Audio CD, June 18, 1996
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1. Flight Of Prayer - David Hykes/Eric Barrett
2. Brotherhood Returning - David Hykes/Timothy Hill
3. Le Souffle Du Seigneur - David Hykes/Timothy Hill/Marjorie Johnson/Carter Burwell/Eric Barret/Robert Mann
4. Earth To The Unknown Power: Part 1. Seed Sounds/Part 2. Arisings/Part 3. Subharmonic Roots... - David Hykes/Timothy Hill/Marjorie Johnson/Eric Barret/Seth Markel/Rebecca Krause/Carter Burwell...
5. Earth To The Unknown Power: Part 6. Alleluia - David Hykes/The Harmonic Chor/David Hykes

Product Details

  • Performer: David Hykes, Eric Barret, Timothy Hill, Robert Mann, Majorie Johnson, et al.
  • Orchestra: Carter Burwell
  • Audio CD (June 18, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003ELT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,834 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Grunwell on December 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
David Hykes. My favorite musician who goes "errrrrrrrrrr" in cathedrals and other such resonant venues. I love Hykes music so much, and I'd been listening to him for a while when this CD came out, the first Choir recording in a long time (since "Current Circulation?"). I bought this almost upon its release, and I've had quite a few years since then to absorb it. Is my third favorite choir CD, but I think it far outshines in accessibility David Hykes recent "solo" efforts, which tend to be much more thematically and musically esoteric. This has some amazing sounds on it, much more "world music" esque than anything else the Choir has released. The most inessential track is the first; it's yet another Hykes solo. It feels rushed, and the sound isn't quite as deep as his solos on "Hearing Solar Winds" or "Harmonic Meetings." However, "Brotherhood Returning" is one of the most simple, beautiful pieces I've heard on the Choir's recordings, and it echoes the sound of "HM"'s "Brotherhood," but with an insistent rhythm, rather than melodies floating through the ether. The piece that features French translations of Sufi poetry about Christ is the real highlight of the album. Here, for the first time, is a distinct Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan/Qawwali influence. The Choir sounds at times exactly like a Qawwali party as they introduce a piece with the ever-rising, clashing and shimmering "chords."
If you like Hykes, you'll love this album. If this was recommended to you and you're a newcomer to this music, please don't make this your first Harmonic Choir purchase. The classic recordings "Harmonic Meetings" and "Hearing Solar Winds" are far more essential.
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Format: Audio CD
More than a decade before this release came out, I recommended the LP Hearing Solar Winds by David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir. I do not know whether that recording is currently available on CD (I believe the LP was on the Harmonia Mundi label), but if it is, I would recommend it as highly as ever. It was simply an incredible musical experience. Earth to the Unknown Power is not quite at the same level, but is still an interesting musical experience. Those who have never heard Hykes and the Harmonic Choir are going to be in for a surprise: this is music like no other. Hykes has studied oriental and other vocal techniques that enable him and his cohort to split their voices into harmonics. The end result of the harmonics and harmonies employed make for a music that is profoundly suited for the spiritual messages of the songs and chants that the group performs.

The recording venue for this live performance was also unique: the group sang into microphones that picked up their voices and connected them via ISDN lines to a sound system set up in an abbey in France. There, the resonant sound in the abbey was picked up by microphones and relayed back to The Kitchen in New York City, where it was amplified for the audience. Hardly the classic "purist" approach, but the net result is appropriate to the music, which is contemplative in nature. Although Hearing Solar Winds would be still rank as my first recommendation for an introduction to this unique musical style, Earth to the Unknown Power is a CD that I recommend quite highly.
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